Saturday 24 February 2018

Willie Mullins believes Annie Power has Champion opportunity

Annie Power
Annie Power

Willie Mullins feels if ever there is a year for Annie Power to be let loose in the Stan James Champion Hurdle, then this is it.

Second in the World Hurdle to More Of That two years ago and a faller at the last with the Mares' Hurdle at her mercy last year, she would need to be supplemented for the Champion.

However, that now looks likely with current champion Faugheen, in the same Rich Ricci ownership, ruled out through injury.

Annie Power did nothing more than prove her well-being when winning on her first start of the season last week, but the notable thing that day was that Mullins fitted her with a hood, something he does not feel will be necessary at Cheltenham.

"I know it's not an ideal prep, only one run before it, but I think probably plenty of horses have done that in the past when you actually think about it," Mullins told At The Races.

"If she was to go for a Champion Hurdle, this is probably the year she should have a crack at it.

"She should probably be going to Aintree for the Aintree Hurdle, I think that is more her race, leaving the others to Cheltenham.

"I don't think she's suitable for the World Hurdle so it's just a straight call between the Champion and the Mares', with Vroum Vroum Mag a possible for that in the same ownership. If we want to give Annie Power a shot at it, this looks the year to do it.

"We'll decide about a hood nearer the day. I thought she settled well, but obviously she was giving Ruby (Walsh) a huge feel which is a good thing. She wears it at home when she's fresh and well.

"I'm hoping to get plenty of work into her before Cheltenham, so she might not need it. I don't think she will in a race like the Champion Hurdle."

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